Sweet Chestnuts are the basis of the economy for the villagers of the Alto Genal. They spend all year pruning and grafting, then collecting and selling the fruit. The harvest is celebrated with joy every year at the beginning of November – with generous amounts of anis!
Chestnuts fill the valley; the hiking routes our guests walk go through the trees which provide welcome shade in the warmer months. Cartajima has a thriving cooperative so most people in the valley bring their chestnuts here to sell. The autumn months are a constant procession of small vans bringing sacks of chestnuts which are sorted, bagged and loaded onto bigger trucks to be sent all over. France for marrons glace, UK for Oxford street, USA for stuffing the turkey.
A frequent guest of ours who also has the greenest fingers I have ever come across took a chestnut home to England some four years ago and planted it. Here´s what happened:
A sweet chestnut tree from Cartajima growing in a Gloucestershire garden! It looks very happy in its new surroundings and I think bigger than the local ones after only four years.